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  • Billy and the Kid - Chapter 1 through 4

    Chapter 1


    It had been 3 years ago almost to the day when William Baker turned in his paperwork for his retirement after 42 years on the job as a machinist in a union shop. It had been a hard career, filled with overtime, missed opportunities and lost moments, but he was finally shed of having to be somewhere 6 days a week. The 2600 square foot house that his wife, Ann, dearly loved and the shop or man cave as he like to call it along with the 12 acres of land were all paid for. His two children, Robert and Susan were all grown up, married with children of their own and doing well for themselves. Susan was a real estate agent 7 states away in Virginia and had 2 little girls that were the light of any room they graced. Robert was closer at only 4 states away and was an Engineer with the state highway department in Colorado. Robert’s only son, Jacob was a 4 sport athlete in the 10th grade, but could hold his own in any math competition you could dream up. Even though he only got to see them on the big holidays these days, he couldn’t hold it against them for going out and leading their own lives. But when they came to town, everything stopped, vacation was taken, schedules were cleared and for those few, precious days, the world revolved around his children and grandchildren.


    But William was standing at the cusp of the part of his life he’d been looking forward to for the last 20 years. He’d always enjoyed fishing, Crappie especially, and was a fair hand at it. But life and a job saw to it that he never got to do much of it. Ann was adamant about making sure that changed after his retirement. For the last few years leading up to his retirement, she saw to it that he was given generous leeway with the household budget to buy whatever he thought he might need and even some things he thought he might use occasionally. It was his birthday two years ago when she planted the seed in his mind, gently, like she had done for the 41 years they had been married, about getting rid of that old boat and getting a new one. William resisted at first, like always, about spending money on himself, but again, like always, he began to see that Ann was right.


    The only boat he’d ever really fished from was a jon boat. His current one was a 14’ Grumman made in 1981 and the little 9.9 horse motor still ran well, but sure was cantankerous every year when it was time to take it out of storage. Even worse, and the part he hated to admit, was that he wasn’t getting any younger, and a bigger, wider boat would be much safer. And besides, with a big outboard, he could finally fish those big lakes and be able to go anywhere he wanted. Yes, Ann was right. It was time to get a new one. Of course, that progression of thought took William almost all of those 2 years, which is why Ann started in on him so early.


    3 months before he turned in the retirement papers, William ordered the boat of his dreams.


    It was that boat that Billy noticed first.


    It was only the second week of summer and already Billy had run out of things to do. He’d done all that the little neighborhood could offer an 11 year old and some of it twice already. He was sitting on his front steps when he heard that Power Stroke Diesel make the turn onto his street and rev back up pulling the little hill coming his way. Billy thought that was surely the biggest bass boat he’d ever seen. When it made it’s up the street, it stopped just in front of his house and Billy perked up wondering what was about to happen. Then all of a sudden, it began to back up and the man skillfully backed it into the drive next door and it disappeared into the garage. He was so focused on the boat, he hadn’t even noticed the 2 moving vans stop in front of the house or the car that followed into the driveway behind the Ford.


    For the next 2 days, there were all kinds of comings and goings with movers unloading the truck and an older couple directing their movements. The old man was grumpily barking orders and the old lady was busy trying to make sure nothing got broken. Billy watched all of the happenings intently, sometimes from the steps and sometimes from the window. His mother had already grown tired of the questions and how was she supposed to know anything about the neighbors anyway? After all, she’d only seen them once when she’d run home to make dinner between her 2 jobs and she wasn’t interested in spending the few moments she had meeting new neighbors when she had a house to clean and a son to care for.

    Billy had made up his mind there had to be some way to get over there and get a closer look at that boat without getting in the way. He’d just have to think on it.







    Chapter 2.


    After the first 2 days, things seemed to settle down a bit with Billy occasionally seeing the old lady piddling on the porch hanging plants and the old man in the back yard arranging patio furniture, but that garage remained closed. And it was killing Billy.


    The forth day saw a flurry of activity once again with 2 new cars parked on the street and 2 families coming and going. Good news too, as both cars had children in them. 2 girls and a boy. The boy was a little older than Billy and the girls a good bit younger, but he took it as a good sign since over the next 2 days he hadn’t seen any evidence the gruff old man had killed the children and there were no fresh graves in their back yard. Maybe the old man even liked children. They sure seemed happy to see him.


    When the weekend was over, the new cars were gone and the new neighbor’s house was quiet once again. Billy was sitting on his steps again just like the week before when he heard the garage door open. Maybe this was his chance to get a closer look at that boat.




    Chapter 3.


    Billy gathered his courage and crept to the corner of the house to peer in. Much to his surprise, the garage was pristine. Peg board lined the walls and every square inch was taken up with tools, gadgets and parts. There was a work bench installed in the back that looked cleaner than his kitchen table. Shop lights were hung over the bench and there was even a fan installed in the corner at the ceiling. And there was that boat. The boat was the only thing cluttered in the whole garage and was filled to the brim with odds and ends and all kinds of fishing tackle and boxes. It seemed out of place in a garage this well kept and clean. He hadn’t even noticed how far he’d stepped from the corner to get a better look until the old man said in a voice loud enough to make Billy jump, “Hello there son”. From the initial startle, Billy’s first reaction was to run and run fast, but just as his weight settled on the balls of his feet for that first leap, he caught himself and was able to reply in a voice strong enough to surprise even himself, “Hi Mr., my name is William Brannon. I live next door. “Well Hello there Billy, my name is Will too, well, actually William. William Baker, but you can call me Mr. Will if you like”. The old man’s reply was surprisingly friendly, but even still, he seemed distracted and not all that interested in meeting Billy. “My name is William, Mr. Will, why’d you call me Billy?”. Well, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean anything by it, it’s just something I remember from back when I was a boy. People used to call me Billy, so I thought they probably called you the same”. “Oh, I see. I kind of like it really. Yes sir, call me Billy if you like”. “Ok then, I will.”.


    William Brannon just really didn’t have time for this Billy from next door. He still had things to do in the house for Ann and had only snuck out for a little break and to double check to see if anything else needed doing in the garage, but still he was intrigued by the little mop headed boy from next door and lingered a little longer than he should have just getting to know the boy a little. And besides, it had been a while since he’d run across a kid that said ‘sir’ when he was supposed to and couldn’t remember when the last time a child that wasn’t related to him said “Thank You”.


    Just about the time that William was trying to figure out a way to send this young Billy packing so he could get back to Ann’s list was just about the same time they both heard the door open and Ann stepped in the doorway.




    Chapter 4


    “Oh! Hello there. Billy, why didn’t you tell me we had company?” It wouldn’t register with Billy until the next day that Mrs. Ann had called Mr. William ‘Billy’, but when he did make the connection, that settled it for him. He definitely liked Mr. William calling him Billy.


    “I’m Ann Baker, but you can call me Mrs. Ann, what’s your name?” “I’m Billy Brannon from next door” he said, trying on the nickname for the first time, “Very nice to meet you”. “Well, aren’t you just about the cutest thing I’ve seen all day. I’m sorry I don’t have time to stop and visit at the moment, but it is certainly nice to meet you and you’re welcome at our house any time and tell your Mom and Dad we’d love to meet them soon”. I will Mrs. Ann, but…..um…..it’s just me and my Mom next door.”, his eyes dropped to the floor searching for the words. “Oh, I see, well you be sure and tell her I said hello and that I’ll stop in soon once I get this house in order. Now I need to borrow Mr. Baker for a minute, but you stay right here and I’ll send him right back out, OK? “Yes Ma’am. And it was very nice to meet you.”


    William and Ann stepped inside and they closed the door. Billy didn’t mind at all. He could use the time to gawk at the boat. He realized it said ‘Ranger’ on the side and he’d heard about them before. Now that he had a chance to look at it, he was sure it was longer than 20 feet and had a 225 horse power black motor on it. Wow! He didn’t even know they made them that big.


    Billy knew he wouldn’t have long, so he set about taking in as much of that boat as he could. When he first saw the boat, it was covered, so he hadn’t seem much other than the hull. Even now, he couldn’t see much with all the tackle and boxes piled on top of it, but he could make out that it had 2 consoles and the biggest dang fishfinders he’d ever seen. One at the driver’s seat and another at the nose. The trailer had had 2 axles and the fenders on it matched the boat perfectly with the same sparkly flakes and in the well lit garage Billy half thought there were diamonds in the finish. Up at the front there was a big rubber piece mounted over the V of the hull. He’d never seen that before and wondered what it was for. He was so intent on studying it, he didn’t even realize his had had come to rest on the top cap and he was absent mindedly letting his fingers glide down the polished and smooth surface until he heard the door open. Quickly, he dropped his hand and put it in his pocket and did his best to look down at his feet quickly in the hopes that Mr. Will wouldn’t see.


    Three minutes before, Ann had led William Baker deep just deep enough into the house to make sure Billy wouldn’t hear them talking and then turned around mid step and stopped William in his tracks. “William, I need about a dozen picture hangers so I can finish this hall. I want you to go to the hardware store and get them for me. But before you go, I want you to invite Billy over for lunch tomorrow at noon. And tell him to invite his Mother too. I think that boy doesn’t have a Dad around and I’ve noticed that his Mom hasn’t been home very much except at night ever since we moved in. It’s not right that he has to make his own lunch everyday and we’re going to change that.


    When you invite Billy, I want you to ask him to come back over this afternoon if he can at about 3 o’clock and help you get that boat cleaned up. I don’t like it being all cluttered like that and he obviously was studying it just now. When you get back for the hardware store, I want you to help me hang these pictures and put away those winter clothes. That should give you plenty of time to go back out and meet Billy at 3.”


    William had been so bombarded with orders that he realized his mouth was slightly open and he hadn’t blinked in too long. He took a breath in to start voicing his objections to getting involved with this “Billy” from next door, but just before he started to speak, he realized that just like the other kids that Ann had “adopted” over the years, this one was going to get adopted whether William objected or not. Matter of fact, whether Billy objected or not. Ann had decided. Mid-word, he changed it from “But” to “Be right back” as he reached for his keys.




    There are be a total of 6 installments, each containing 4 chapters here: http://www.crappie.com/crappie/conte...billy-kid.html This story was written by our very own crappie.com member: Wannabe...


    Comments 22 Comments
    1. "G"'s Avatar
      "G" -
      Fantastic story.....very good read, Thanks Chris # 3
    1. Pulluponthepole's Avatar
      Pulluponthepole -
      Great story, need more soon!
    1. Pat O'Reilly's Avatar
      Pat O'Reilly -
      Nicely done looking forward to the rest of it
    1. Lotech Joe's Avatar
      Lotech Joe -
      Great read. I can hardly wait for more. BTW, I would have been the mop headed kid in this scenario.
    1. NYHellbender's Avatar
      NYHellbender -
      Nice read. Is there something missing from chapter 1? The story went from William Baker ordering his boat. Straight to Little Billy watching the new neigbours moving in.
    1. KDAVID1's Avatar
      KDAVID1 -
      Awesome!!!!!!!
    1. kycreek's Avatar
      kycreek -
      It's definitely a good read.
    1. RetiredRR's Avatar
      RetiredRR -
      Wannabe a what. Your already a writer, so what else could you wannabe? Enjoyable read.
    1. Speckanator's Avatar
      Speckanator -
      makings of a hallmark movie!
    1. lowe rider's Avatar
      lowe rider -
      It's like a fishermans soap opera, it leaves you wondering what going to happen next. A really great read so far.
    1. boatdocksam's Avatar
      boatdocksam -
      dont leave me hangin
    1. skeetbum's Avatar
      skeetbum -
      It's a great story, kind of a parallel to one I might pass on one day. Very well done.
    1. Billbob's Avatar
      Billbob -
      great
    1. Crappie Vermonster's Avatar
      Crappie Vermonster -
      Great story
    1. Bayoudog's Avatar
      Bayoudog -
      Good story
    1. bovairean's Avatar
      bovairean -
      We need chapter 5
    1. Crappiegirl1's Avatar
      Crappiegirl1 -
      i am ready for more story---------cant wait
    1. Ozark88's Avatar
      Ozark88 -
      Hurry up with the rest!!! LOL
    1. Bowbender's Avatar
      Bowbender -
      cant wait to retire and take some kids fishing
    1. Idunno's Avatar
      Idunno -
      Man, that ain't no quick read!
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